The Times: The Cambridges are not working harder following Sussexit


One of the funniest parts of Tatler’s “Catherine the Great” cover story was the absolute insistence of so many “sources” that Kate was and is flat-out furious about the added workload now that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have exited. The story of an alleged added workload is not new – pretty much as soon as the Sussexit was announced, people have been saying that William and Kate would have to work more, that they could no longer hide behind Harry and Meghan, that all eyes were on them. What was new was Tatler’s claim that Kate is “furious” about “working as hard as a top CEO” and that Harry and Meghan have “effectively thrown their three children under a bus. There goes their morning school runs as the responsibilities on them now are enormous.” It was also funny to see the palace’s denial because… well, it’s clear that Will & Kate are under pressure, and they did it to themselves. They could have had two hard-workers to hide behind forever, but Will & Kate were too petty and short-sighted to see it.

Anyway, Harry and Meghan have not been working “full time” since last November. They did a patch of work appearances in January around the Sussexit, and then they did another group of appearances in March. And that’s it, that was their farewell. You would think that during that time, pre-pandemic, Will & Kate would have gone out of their way to reassure people that they were around, that they were working their royal fingers to the bone, correct? You would be wrong.

It was a claim that drew an unprecedented rebuttal from Kensington Palace: the Sussexes left the Cambridges in the lurch when they withdrew from royal duties. While the story was flatly denied, it did raise a question: just how much work are William and Kate doing?

Claims from an unnamed friend of the Cambridges in Tatler magazine that the couple cannot be hands-on parents because they are picking up Harry and Meghan’s duties are not borne out by the Court Circular. Figures compiled for the first quarter of 2020, when the Cambridges were active but the Sussexes had withdrawn to North America, show that William and Kate carried out a similar number of engagements as they had in the same period last year. In Britain, William carried out 44 engagements between January and March this year, one more than he did in the same period in 2019 despite the disruption caused by Covid-19 at the end of March. Catherine’s fell from 35 to 29.

Court Circular records compiled by Tim O’Donovan, who has catalogued royal engagements for The Times every year since 1979, show that the Duke of Sussex attended 35 domestic public engagements in the first quarter of 2019, falling to two this year. Meghan’s duties fell from 26 to one.

Royal commentators said that the Cambridges would inevitably have to take on more work not only because of the withdrawal of the Sussexes but the absence of the Duke of York, who stepped back from public life after a poorly received interview with the BBC over his friendship with the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. There are now 12 active members of the royal family, the smallest number since 2005. The bulk of the engagements are by the Prince of Wales, who carried out 521 engagements listed last year in Court Circulars, and the Princess Royal, who was listed 506 times. The Queen carried out 295 in 2019, a reduction from the 2000s when she would routinely do more than 400 each year.

[From The Times]

To be totally fair – I don’t know why I’m such a contrarian, but here we go – Will and Kate have historically never been that active in the first quarter of any given year. It’s not that they worked a lot January-March ‘19 or ‘20 or whenever – they usually don’t “get going” with any kind of real schedule until March. Sure, they’ll do a few events in January and February but I can remember a few years where Kate has only done, like, two events by the time St. Patrick’s Day rolls around. But I take The Times’ point, which is just that: Will and Kate are just as work-shy as ever, Sussexit or no Sussexit. I think when the royals go back to having a schedule (assuming that would be this fall), people will be shocked by how little work Kate does. She’s always been like that – why work consistently when she could just do one or two events and send her people out to talk about those events ad nauseum for months?

Also, Meghan did more than one event in the first quarter. She did a blitz of events during her stay in London in March. And she did a few events in January. I would put her number closer to ten. I don’t know why Meghan’s actual events with patronages don’t count, yet Kate’s “private meetings” and Zoom calls count.

09-03-2020   Commonwealth Day Celebrations  Westminster Abbey 2020...

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76 Responses to “The Times: The Cambridges are not working harder following Sussexit”

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  1. Sofia says:

    Yeah we know they don’t work and although it seemed like Kate picked the pace up when she was promoting the struggle survey, it seems her numbers aren’t dramatically different.

    I am so annoyed by the “she doesn’t get the benefits of boundaries and holidays”. She has plenty of boundaries, can set her own schedule and can go on a holiday during the kids holidays because she doesn’t do any engagements then specifically because she wants to spend time with the kids

    • Becks1 says:

      Kate has always done this thing where she does several events over a few days so it seems like she is SUPER BUSY and working super hard and then we don’t hear from her for weeks after that. So she did the same thing this January, my guess is that we wouldn’t have seen her from St Patrick’s Day through Easter, and then we would have seen her at a garden party, the flower show, royal ascot, Trooping, probably a polo event or two, maybe a horse show, and then they would have gone to Mustique and then to Scotland for July and August.

      She’s pretty predictable at this point lol.

      • Dee says:

        She also changes her clothes or her appearance (puts hair up) between appearances on the same day, esp. on tours. It looks like multiple engagements that way. I was surprised to see Charles and Camilla visit our city, split up to go to multiple venues, from an exhibit hall to gardening with kids to dinner and Camilla didn’t change her outfit.

      • Becks1 says:

        Yes good point Dee. Its part of her theme dressing lol but also a way to make it look like she’s busier than she is. She visits a farm – she has to change from a dress to jeggings and boots – even if she’s not actually doing anything besides walking around. If she wore something like sensible pants and booties she would be fine for the whole day, but she purposely chooses not to do that.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      Read on Tatler that Andrew has permanently stepped-back or retired from all public engagements. Unless Charles wants to put the York Princesses to work, Karen & Kevin Kensington will face increase pressure to step-up their game as Senior Working Royals. The only other option is for “the Palace” just to refuse requests for a “Royal attendance” at events.

      • Mignionette says:

        @TampaBay I think that’s what they will do i.e. decrease Royal patronages at the cost of their visibility which inevitably is the beginning of the end of the UK Monarchy. The direction the world is going increasingly is suggestive of their irrelevance.

      • Couch potato says:

        They probably already refuse a lot of requests. Less patronages and apparances would always be the outcome of a slimmed down monarchy. Many other European monarchys have (or are planning to) slimmed down, and only heir apparent and family are covered by the government/tax. It’s more likely people are willing to keep the monarchys if they only have a handful of people to pay for, not a whole bunch. It’s also a lot of “lesser” royals who make their own living, but occationally make apparences on behalf of the monarch, and supports some patronages just like H&M wanted to do.

      • A says:

        @Mignionette, I think you’re right. We’re seeing a big shift in the dynamics of the royal family and that’s not getting discussed enough if you ask me. The only way for Will and Kate to manage will be by cutting back on their public role. This is going to reframe the way the British people see the monarchy, especially after the Queen passes.

    • Ruby_Woo says:

      The comment about the lack of holidays seemed like shade to me… we all know that she’s the Queen of Mustique.

    • Mumbles says:

      Comedian Steven Wright used to have a routine about how mad he would be when he saw a baby at a vacation spot; he didn’t think babies deserved vacations because they didn’t work. I thought of that joke when that Tatler line came out about Kate not having boundaries or breaks. Vacations don’t really matter when you don’t work.

    • windyriver says:

      Kate (and Will) are just so incredibly allergic to working. Imagine what they could do if they put half as much effort into accomplishing anything, as they have over planning their PR ops and obsessing over the response.

      Kate should have taken advantage of this time, with the Sussexes out of the country and out of the picture, and a pandemic ongoing, to make a impression with more frequent and more interesting (virtual) projects. Lots of good and simple ideas on this site, like the children doing a hand washing video. It would have been so simple. Heck, she didn’t even have to leave home like she did for the “struggle survey” tour. Then at least there’d always be something concrete and significant to point to when writing about her other than “never putting a foot wrong”, or some hyped up phone call from a bare console desk in her living room.

      Meghan and Harry will be visible again very soon. And this time, they’re in the US, not the UK, and not bound by restrictions of the RF or the Rota. If Kate (and Carole) didn’t get it that Meghan’s projects have impact and aren’t just empty gestures, the response to the short birthday video of her reading to Archie should have clued them in. This was Kate’s moment, and instead of rising to the occasion, they fell back on the tired “let’s prop up Kate by bashing Meghan” playbook. That’s not going to work in the future the way it has in the past; the Tatler article is a sign the narrative may one day soon be out of their control.

      • MangoAngel says:

        Those “phone call from an empty console desk in her living room” faux-tographs still crack me up.

        “Okay, Duchess, lets get some shots of you during a busy work day.”


        “Oh for…just pick up the phone, Cathy, and pretend to call Pippa. Just fiddle with a pen while you do it.”

    • Elizabeth says:

      She puts more energy in to getting out of work than most of us put in to working.

  2. Priscila says:

    Well, they can sue the Tatler for the lies the magazine told about them just fine: all they had to do is admit in court Karen does not work like a CEO , that she barely works and they would have the numbers to back up!

  3. Alexandria says:

    How is Meghan only 1?

    Never mind.

    • Ruby_Woo says:

      I don’t understand either; she did a spate when she came back; Endevour Funds Awards, the Mountbatten Music Concert, National Theatre visit (I bought the same exact top she wore there), the Commonwealth Service.

      Unless it was just the National Theatre visit that counted.

    • kyliegirl says:

      They are only counting what is in the CC. H and M stopped sending their events to the CC once they announced they were stepping down. H has a few more because he did some events at BP and they were included in the CC. It is up to the office to send in the events. H and M never included everything they did. The Cambridges include all. It’s not work unless someone else notices in their view.

  4. S808 says:

    With Harry and Meghan and their projects gone, they have no choice but to put out something. How is the Royal Foundation staying afloat? What projects are left? HeadsTogether? Shout is an independent entity, I think. Endeavor just moved in Invictus Game and out of the Royal Foundation. They’re gonna have to pick up the pace eventually, otherwise I don’t see how the foundation will stay afloat. Their 2019 report should be interesting. Andrew is permanently retired and I don’t think charles wants B&E to be working royals, so yeah the pressure is on for these 2.

    • Ruby_Woo says:

      When Harry and Meghan first announced that they were leaving I really hoped that Harry would be able to keep his charities (even more than his military titles). They did not mess around – everything moved over, nice and swift.

      I caught a tweet for the Royal Foundation saying that the Endeavour Funds was created by them, trying to take credit.

      I dunno if there will be that much scrutiny; it seems like they only scrutinised when Meghan was there.

      Do you know what will happen to the Together Cook Book? Does that count as part of the Royal Foundation or is it a separate entity?

      • Beach Dreams says:

        I’d also love to hear the definitive status on the Together cookbook because I’ve heard so many conflicting things. At the very least, it seems that the money it generates is ringbarked so that it goes exactly where it’s supposed to. Hopefully that’s preventing Will and Kate from misusing the funds if they managed to keep it under their foundation.

  5. Mich says:

    “Catherine’s fell from 35 to 29.” Snicker.

    Note to Karen & Kevin Keen: Talking/whinging about working isn’t the same thing as working.

  6. JJ McClay says:

    The numbers always make me laugh. It is SUCH an easy system to rig in your favour, because they measure quantity, not quality. (So bigger projects like Meghan’s cookbook aren’t accounted for proportionately.)

    Meaning: It would be SO easy for Workshy and Karen to just run up a bunch of “quick wins” to artificially inflate their numbers (eg, visit 2-3 hospitals in a day, etc) and yet they don’t even bother to do that!

    (Side note: sometimes when I’m in the shower, I think about what my patronages would be if I was a princess and how I would organise my week to fit in lots of events. #weirdo, I know. But I always beat W & K in my imaginary duties, let me tell you!)

    • Ruby_Woo says:

      Lol, I was just imagining that if I was a Billionaire CEO, which smaller independent magazines would I buy to support less visible journalists (there are much better journalists that I follow on Twitter than the mainstream papers).

      A new Murdoch owned radio channel is coming out and one of the people they’ve hired is an ex politician and her… daughter! The nepotism and mediocrity is wild!

      Being a Princess with patronages would be nice but hard, because you can’t be too ‘political’ and have to keep your mouth shut – which would be so hard!

    • Mich says:

      I do the same but imagining I’ve won the lottery. When that happens, I’m tackling food deserts across the country.

      • Lady D says:

        Me too. That’s exactly what I think about when imagining a lottery win. How many children can I feed? If there’s money left over I want to start a program teaching functionally illiterate adults how to read. (e.g. I knew a man that could read a stop sign but not a paragraph out of the Hobbit.)

    • SilentStar says:

      Yes, it’s weird to just count appearances and projects individually. I would think calculating the days or hours would be more accurate.

      I work for a politician and usually the “big” appearances are no effort at all, because everything has been arranged by staff and the speeches have been written for them. It’s very easy work.

      It’s the planning and problem solving that takes time an effort, but that’s boring because it’s mostly desk work and phone calls, yet that’s the important work that really makes a difference.

      • FicklePickle says:

        Well, yes, days worked would be a much more sensible system that would be harder to game, and in fact is the system that all the royals on the continent use. But heaven knows, the BRF never did let sensibility get in the way of their course of action.

    • lara (the other) says:

      “(Side note: sometimes when I’m in the shower, I think about what my patronages would be if I was a princess and how I would organise my week to fit in lots of events. #weirdo, I know. But I always beat W & K in my imaginary duties, let me tell you!)”
      Thats my phatasie when I am overworked and frustrated.
      I would love to be able to have access to the best experts in a field and actually lean from them without having to go trough the exams. Imagine talking to neuropsychologist about the brain development of children or a private tour through every museeum you would like to see. Learn about and promote concepts to tackle poverty.
      And still have time to go out riding or hiking since you don´t have to worry about housework or other annoing day to day stuff.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Me, too. My patronages would start with lupus, FGM, animals, the elderly, classical music, opera, ballet, film, and theatre.

  7. M Narang says:

    “ I don’t know why Meghan’s actual events with patronages don’t count, yet Kate’s “private meetings” and Zoom calls count.”

    What is that saying about having to work 100x harder to get half as much?

    Excellent read as always.

  8. Harla says:

    Have the Cambridge’s forgotten that Harry and Meghan are new parents whose child just turned 1? Perhaps Harry and Meghan would have liked to be hands-on-parents too and have the same time to spend with Archie that W&K got to spend with George, Charlotte and Louis when they were babies. Are W&K going to use their children as excuses for their poor numbers forever?

    • Ruby_Woo says:

      Archie obviously doesn’t count.

    • Ginger says:

      Will and Kate ( especially Kate) love to hide behind their children. She always uses the excuse that she wants to be a hands on Mom but yet she has 3 nannies.

      • Noki says:

        Three nannies? I thought she only had Nany Maria and Carol helping out.

      • Lady D says:

        Two regular nannies and one to cover days off.

      • Becks1 says:

        @Noki there are definitely at least two (we see Nanny Maria with the older kids at times and Louis isn’t there, so there’s definitely a second nanny), and my guess is there was a third when Louis was really young and Charlotte wasn’t in school full time, but now there may just be the two. I would not be surprised if they have someone though who is more of an old fashioned governess and less of a nanny (i.e. is more involved with their education or “training” especially now.)

  9. yinyang says:

    Hmm its been awhile since she’s been around and the tabloids keep running same stories. Is the CEO on vacation?

  10. Andrew’s Nemesis says:

    Don’t these two wastrel slackers realise that the Monarchy could fall over their lazy antics?

  11. Noki says:

    Harry had a lot of solo patronages and also did some with the Cambridges right? So when he got engaged did the Sussexes get new ones or they took some already existing under all the royal patronages. Meghan was only officially there for under three years,how could this time have made such a huge difference compared to what they were suppose to be doing all these years.

  12. Toniko says:

    If looks could kill…. that Harry face on the last pic. maaaan

    • Harla says:

      Exactly! He’s so over this bunch of nutters. I love Meghan’s face though, serene and calm knowing that she’s on the next flight out of there.

      • ArtHistorian says:

        The expressions are rather entertaining – Harry’s majorly pissed off, really angry. Meghan looks serenely blissed out and Charles looks like he’s trying to remember whether he turned off the oven or not.

      • KellyRyan says:

        Harry’s face provides me with a smile. :) What were those stories again, the bros uniting?

  13. whatever says:

    Does anyone else ever wonder what they actually DO all day long? They’re not cleaning their homes, cooking their meals, doing their laundry, etc… They have nannies to help with the kids. We all know with certainty that they’re not actually working. So how do they actually spend their hours?

    Wouldn’t it be hilarious if Kate just hung around on the couch in her sweats playing Candy Crush on her phone all day?

    • Dee says:

      Work outs with her personal trainer, getting her hair blown out, nails done, shopping for the same coat dress in different colors, probably eat up some of that time.

    • Becks1 says:

      In normal times, when they are at Anmer I imagine Kate spends a lot of time in the pool or playing tennis, and in London I imagine she works out a great deal, gets her hair done, etc. I would not be surprised if she does cook and bake a lot, but the nice kind of cooking – not the “I have to get dinner on the table in 20 minutes bc George has baseball” but the kind where its like “I’m going to spend 4 hours making everything from scratch.”

      Like you said we know she’s not working, which is what I think a lot of these rich women do – spend a lot of time volunteering, going to various charity events, attending the type of rich women circles where they discuss those charity events, etc.

      And man do I clearly have an image in my head of rich landed gentry, LOL.

  14. Lizzie says:

    Cain and Unable are freeloaders. I can’t imagine the public will continue to subsidize them. They should be sidelined to save the rest of the monarchy. Dump the Doolittle’s.

  15. AGreatDane says:

    Well W&K have really put their foot in it now. Mainstream Brit media is going to tread lightly reporting on the protests here in America, they don’t have access to H&M anymore, and the media falls over itself to not criticize inept Boris Johnson, so the Cambridges have effectively handed them a bonfire of vanities. Every inch of that Tatler article and the rebuttals and gossip surrounding it, are going to be nitpicked to pieces for the next few weeks and/or months. Also, the Royal Foundation might not release their financial statements this year, the Wessexes aren’t going to do so because they raised less than 1,000 GBP, while having expenses over 100,000 GBP. Sophie does all those engagements but she and Edward can’t raise 1,000???

    • Yuzu says:

      Where’s the link on the Wessexes financial situation?

      Honestly, if I were them, I would be making anonymous donations. That is embarrassing.

      • Yoyo says:

        It’s their Trust, third year in a row they’re not filing financial papers, they spent almost 70?? more than the charity had, on staff, themselves, who knows, I thought Sophie was a business owner, oh that was in financial trouble also.

  16. KellyRyan says:

    As we say, all show and no go. They want the peasants to bow and believe in their specialness just because. :) I believe H&M are continuing to work behind the scenes and we’ll know and see more once we have Covid-19 vaccines. Staying at home, safeguarding Archie.

  17. TheOriginalMia says:

    I feel like this is a “duh!” article. We already knew the Cambridges weren’t working any harder since Sussexit. The only ones who think they are doing more, are the Cambridges themselves. I’m sure anything that forces them to appear more than 2x per week is considered hard labor. Also, add in the fact, that Kate can’t hide behind her latest button-ladden coat dress and mounds of hair. It’s just her and Zoom.

  18. ABritGuest says:

    Spotlight seems to have been a real issue between the short lived Fab Four. given that the Sussexes seem to enjoy the project work& Kate & William may be better suited to the bread and butter appearances plus should be in front of the people as the future of the monarchy- why didn’t they just focus on that? More bread& butter appearances keeps the spotlight on the Cambridges, it’s not very taxing& can still spend plenty of time with the kids. Sussexes balance out with their impact projects.

    I will never understand how the Firm fumbled the bag& couldn’t quash petty jealousy& other issues to play up both couples’ appeal to its benefit.

    • notasugarhere says:

      W&K have implied for years they will never do the bread-and-butter engagements. Kate’s initial excuse about skipping the Irish Guards is she didn’t want to set up the expectation she’d show up each year. Now we have the news they are planning to focus on one-two charities for a year or two. ‘Help’ that charity achieve a certain monetary goal, then move on to another charity for a year or two. In other words, do no work themselves, hope people donate, and take credit.

      Putting them on a strict schedule of X number of b&b engagements would infuriate them. That would be like WORKING. They want to make everyone else do the work, show up, and pretend they ran the projects themselves. See HeadsTogether, the garden, SHOUT, HeadsTogether, the struggle survey, etc.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        “Putting them on a strict schedule of X number of b&b engagements would infuriate them.”

        Well that is exactly what the Future Charles III needs to do and he needs to do it ASAP!

  19. Harper says:

    Sometimes I think the Queen and Charles don’t care if Kate works. Kate’s really bad at showing interest, she flashes her bum and she says dumb things. I can just imagine Camilla looking at the photos of Kate laughing maniacally and saying, “Good grief girl, close your mouth.”

    And sometimes I think Kate being a commoner does make her ill-suited for the job. She wasn’t raised with a sense of noblesse oblige — watching her elders being generous to those with less. Kate spent her formative years running after Wills to grab the ring. Now it’s too late for Kate to change who she really is, despite making a yearly announcement that she’s about to get going. Her work record and her obvious boredom shows she really has zero interest in the pain or struggles of the people around her.

    • notasugarhere says:

      Kate being a commoner is just another excuse. Sophie is a commoner and she doesn’t have problems doing the job.

      • Becks1 says:

        I can see her being “a commoner” playing a part in this for the reasons Harper mentioned along with the fact that she never actually worked. She doesn’t want to work now (why would she, she has never worked before) and she doesn’t see why she “should” work since she doesn’t have a background in charity or volunteer work and she gets the benefits of the being in the royal family without doing any of the “work”.

    • MsIam says:

      Lol! “her yearly announcement that she’s about to get going…” priceless! Even the RR are going to get sick of hearing and reporting on that same song and dance year after year.

    • Lizzie says:

      Once a spoiled freeloader, always a spoiled freeloader.

    • Elizabeth says:

      “Commoners” aren’t automatically selfish or uncharitable. Lots of current royal consorts in Europe who work a darn sight more than Kate are/were “commoners.” Camilla was a “commoner.“ Meghan was a “commoner” and she has always worked hard and been generous and charitable . . . . Okay I have no idea what you are trying to say but I don’t get it.

      • Elizabeth says:

        I’ll add that the British royals aren’t the most generous people financially from what I have seen. Feel free to present evidence otherwise. Noblesse oblige is a funny concept to raise in the era of protecting Andrew.

      • notasugarhere says:

        Her comment doesn’t make sense. She’s implying everyday people who go out and earn a living couldn’t work to raise charity funds as part of this family?

        Studies have shown people in the (economic) middle and lower classes give a higher percentage of their income to charity than the wealthy.

      • L84Tea says:

        Queen Maxima and Princess Mary of Denmark were once commoners and those women run circles around Kate and William both.

      • Couch potato says:

        The crown princess of Norway is cronically ill, and she outnumbers the two of them.

    • Nic919 says:

      Kate was raised to chase the ring and nothing else. No one in her family has a real sense of philanthropy, which isn’t limited to aristocrats. Many middle and working class people volunteer and help others. The Middletons just happen to be a really selfish bunch.

    • Alexandria says:

      It’s not her commoner status. She, her family and I will add on William (don’t forget about him) are not interested in charity, they are interested in PR. I would say that is still ok since PR is important but at least put in the numbers like the Queen does.

    • Lizzie says:

      She just doesn’t seem to have a heart, no one says she cares about anything except how she is perceived and becoming qc.
      If she was 20 years younger she and Pippa would probably be on Rich Kids of Instagram.

  20. Alexandria says:

    Is the public and media so hard up for pictures of the three kids and WK that they let this laziness slide in exchange for access and pics? I understand why the media wants pictures but demand is created from the public so I don’t understand why the public needs pictures and stories. The kids should be left alone. The BRF sells an illusion of the perfect white stoic duty bound family. Time to wake up. They are on welfare, cannot be elected, their finances are shady and then there’s Epstein. You’re better off with an elected head of state without having to cater to the extended family, their gold pianos and stable of champion horses.

  21. February Pisces says:

    The only “work” Kate need to put in, in order to get her promotion to queen is to stop her future future king husband from dumping her.

  22. Awkward symphony says:

    “Her comment doesn’t make sense. She’s implying everyday people who go out and earn a living couldn’t work to raise charity funds as part of this family?

    Studies have shown people in the (economic) middle and lower classes give a higher percentage of their income to charity than the wealthy.”

    I could back up that study as I used to volunteer 16hrs a week at a local British heart foundation shop whilst in uni and working part time. People with low to mid income have more empathy and know what it’s like to have struggles which is why they are most donating.

    KeenKueen kate was exposed worldwide for her laziness and they are desperate to change the focus to Meghan that the idiots are trying to make it as Meghan colludes with tatler(which has been trashing her for 3years especially on this issue). If anything with the current protests it makes it even more how they were using the biracial woman as scapegoat. I hope people turn on them soon